Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Grapes on the vine!

I've been reading the books I bought about growing grapes and making wines. One of the factoids picked up was not to expect newly planted vines to produce grapes for four years.  So naturally we were majorly surprised when we went for a stroll in our newly planted vineyard to (a) be able to see our plants from a distance as they had grown substantially in a week and (b) see grapes forming on some of the red grape vines. Yes, they do appear to be grapes there. How exciting!

Then I came across an article in the Boston Globe dated July 18 by Ellen Bhang about two vineyards, one in Maine and the other in Massachusetts that are producing interesting sparkling wines. Morphos by Oyster River Winegrowers is made from cold-hardy seyval blanc and Cayuga grapes from the Finger Lakes region of New York. If I recall correctly, that's grape juice and grape jelly country.

The second is from Westport Rivers in the SE corner of MA and they've been making wines for 25 years.  They have vinifera planted on 80 acres. They make a bubbly white from chardonnay grapes called Farmer's Fizz.  It's a prosecco like drink in brown bottles with just under 11% alcohol. I think I could get used to that.  Effervescence is captured from the primary fermentation.  And the brilliant part of it is that doesn't have to be aged.

Hey if the they can do it in New England, then we can certainly do it in Ireland. I'm getting excited.

In an aside, the first french female named Master of Wine is concentrating on organic wines.  I like that concept, too.  Isabelle Legeron, Master of Wine, London: https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/food-dining/2015/04/04/natural-wines-are-tech-free-additive-free-and-organic/x1sWS0kfYKWKxNXCQXatqK/story.html

And finally, in the Science of Wine I learned that planting things that complement grape growing in the rows between actually causes them to be more robust. It harbours natural insects that keep grape diseases under control.  I like that too.  And given that we have left the grass in place, we just cut it down periodically, we seem to be getting things right by hook or by crook.  Or maybe others have just gotten too fussy and forgot that evolution has been around much longer than man.